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The only one forestalling mine,
And that by right that he
Presents a claim invisible,
No wedlock granted me.
I live with him, I hear his voice,
I stand alive to-day
To witness to the certainty
Of immortality
Taught me by Time, -- the lower way,
Conviction every day, --
That life like this is endless,
Be judgment what it may.

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.
To venerate the simple days
Which lead the seasons by,
Needs but to remember
That from you or me
They may take the trifle
Termed mortality!
To invest existence with a stately air,
Needs but to remember
That the acorn there
Is the egg of forests
For the upper air!

Low amid that glad _Belles lettres_
Grant that we may stand,
Stars, amid profound Galaxies,
At that grand 'Right hand'!
Could mortal lip divine
The undeveloped freight
Of a delivered syllable,
'T would crumble with the weight.

I made my soul familiar
With her extremity,
That at the last it should not be
A novel agony,
But she and Death, acquainted,
Meet tranquilly as friends,
Salute and pass without a hint --
And there the matter ends.
I have not told my garden yet,
Lest that should conquer me;
I have not quite the strength now
To break it to the bee.

Ascend in ceaseless carol,
Inaudible, indeed,
To us, the duller scholars
Of the mysterious bard!
I years had been from home,
And now, before the door,
I dared not open, lest a face
I never saw before
Stare vacant into mine
And ask my business there.
My business, -- just a life I left,
Was such still dwelling there?

Frequently the woods are pink,
Frequently are brown;
Frequently the hills undress
Behind my native town.
Oft a head is crested
I was wont to see,
And as oft a cranny
Where it used to be.

Butterflies pause
On their passage Cashmere;
I, softly plucking,
Present them here!
Where ships of purple gently toss
On seas of daffodil,
Fantastic sailors mingle,
And then -- the wharf is still.

I would as soon attempt to warm
The bosoms where the frost has lain
Ages beneath the mould.
Some other thirsty there may be
To whom this would have pointed me
Had it remained to speak.
And so I always bear the cup
If, haply, mine may be the drop
Some pilgrim thirst to slake, --

Proud of my broken heart since thou didst break it,
Proud of the pain I did not feel till thee,
Proud of my night since thou with moons dost slake it,
Not to partake thy passion, my humility.
My worthiness is all my doubt,
His merit all my fear,
Contrasting which, my qualities
Do lowlier appear;

Portraits are to daily faces
As an evening west
To a fine, pedantic sunshine
In a satin vest.
I took my power in my hand.
And went against the world;
'T was not so much as David had,
But I was twice as bold.

Oh, sacrament of summer days,
Oh, last communion in the haze,
Permit a child to join,
Thy sacred emblems to partake,
Thy consecrated bread to break,
Taste thine immortal wine!

The thimble weighed too heavy,
The stitches stopped themselves,
And then 't was put among the dust
Upon the closet shelves.
A book I have, a friend gave,
Whose pencil, here and there,
Had notched the place that pleased him, --
At rest his fingers are.
Now, when I read, I read not,
For interrupting tears
Obliterate the etchings
Too costly for repairs.

His venerable hand to take,
And warming in our own,
A passage back, or two, to make
To times when he was young.
His quaint opinions to inspect,
His knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind,
The literature of old;

I 'm glad I don't believe it,
For it would stop my breath,
And I 'd like to look a little more
At such a curious earth!
I am glad they did believe it
Whom I have never found
Since the mighty autumn afternoon
I left them in the ground.
At least to pray is left, is left.
O Jesus! in the air
I know not which thy chamber is, --
I 'm knocking everywhere.

No ordinance is seen,
So gradual the grace,
A pensive custom it becomes,
Enlarging loneliness.
Antiquest felt at noon
When August, burning low,
Calls forth this spectral canticle,
Repose to typify.

Faith is a fine invention
For gentlemen who see;
But microscopes are prudent
In an emergency!
Except the heaven had come so near,
So seemed to choose my door,
The distance would not haunt me so;
I had not hoped before.
But just to hear the grace depart
I never thought to see,
Afflicts me with a double loss;
'T is lost, and lost to me.

Who never lost, are unprepared
A coronet to find;
Who never thirsted, flagons
And cooling tamarind.
Who never climbed the weary league --
Can such a foot explore
The purple territories
On Pizarro's shore?

To lose thee, sweeter than to gain
All other hearts I knew.
'T is true the drought is destitute,
But then I had the dew!
The Caspian has its realms of sand,
Its other realm of sea;
Without the sterile perquisite
No Caspian could be.

A vastness, as a neighbor, came, --
A wisdom without face or name,
A peace, as hemispheres at home, --
And so the night became.
Drab habitation of whom?
Tabernacle or tomb,
Or dome of worm,
Or porch of gnome,
Or some elf's catacomb?
A sloop of amber slips away
Upon an ether sea,
And wrecks in peace a purple tar,
The son of ecstasy.

And when the hills are full,
And newer fashions blow,
Doth not retract a single spice
For pang of jealousy.
Her public is the noon,
Her providence the sun,
Her progress by the bee proclaimed
In sovereign, swerveless tune.
The bravest of the host,
Surrendering the last,
Nor even of defeat aware
When cancelled by the frost.

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